tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 23, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
make this nation a better place. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the east coast gets rattled. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm chris jansing in new york tonight for chris matthews. leading off tonight. if you've been watching tv, or listening to the radio or following social media, you already know the headline, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the east coast just before 2:00 this afternoon. tens of millions who think the quakes as something who happens -- were jolted into a rare and nerve rackic reality. it was centered in mineral, virginia, felt in 22 states as far west as illinois.
while there are no reports of major damage, there may well be hidden structural damage. we'll have the details and bring you live reports throughout the hour here on "hardball." in that libya, where rebel troops overwhelmed pro-gadhafi forces and poured into his compou compound. they fired their reps in celebration and grabbed what they could, but colonel gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown. no one was injured in the cathedral, and there was no damage to the stained glass windows, but the cathedral has been closed to visitors until further notice. the floors of the u.s. capitol rotunda littered with paint
chips and small pieces of plaster falling from the ceiling from the capitol dome. the damage was not structural, but it's clear that the capitol was hit heart. these images show the damage at a construction site in vienna, virginia, where a load of bricks fell on a nearby car. thousands of office workers found themself in the street as building were evacuated. even the courthouse where dominique strauss-kahn was to be tried was is it evacuated. dr., how rare is it? >> we do tend to think of it as a west coast reminder, being we have moderate risks from earthquakes in 39 of the 50 states.
and we saw not only some of the impacts on the buildings, but just the frayed nerves certainly here in new york city, whenever you feel something that's not quite right, it brings back thoughts of 9/11. the shaking in new york really reflects that here in the herein u.s., though there are lots of fault lines to be found, you know, from very ancient, as in millions of years ago. that the reason you're feeling the shaking is actually because it's been so long since then. the earth's crust is very strong, cold, old that's why --
an equivalent earthquake out west would only be felt in a smaller area, because the earth's crust is broken up by the fault structures there. >> yeah, there were some injuries, but nothing serious. we saw the kinds of damage that w was. old buildings in this part of the country and the fact that moth of them aren't retrofitted. are you surprised it wasn't worse? >> well, the good news about this quake certainly was that it was -- the epicentral area where the shaking will be most intense was in a fairly rural region. however, we know even an earthquake of this size and certainly potential for larger events will have a significant
impact if there are a lot of brick buildings involved. as you said, there's been sort of limited examples in terms of walls falling down, chimneys, that sort of thing, but we have a lot of urban areas with old brick buildings that have not been designed with earthquakes in mind. we just had the bicentennial of the new mad rid earthquake. we have a lot of brick buildings that would be -- >> but an earthquake of this size, as you said, it's such a very long time. what's the reasonable likelihood we would get another serious quake or something as big as a 7 anytime in the near future? >> for the specific area where this one began, you know, we don't have any indication that this is likely to be followed by another significant event.
guy again, it's a reminder on the east coast we do have a history, especially looking back, and more damaging -- we had significant tsunami generated by an offshore quake there, so again from a human standpoint, from what we think of or what our parents experience, it's a low hazard, but when we think about the consequences, you know, i think about the haiti earthquake, where it had been since the 17th century we would have had significant earthquakes there before, that doesn't matter when you're in one of these. >> i know there have been a couple small aftershocks. would you expect more and how long might they go on? >> that's right. so far 2.8, magnitude 2.9
events. they will decrease in frequency, so the fact that we have not seen larger aftershocks is a good thing. we would not be surprised to see even up to a magnitude 5 event in that area near where the epicenter took place, and these events can go on over weeks, months, even years. so it can be quite an extended period. >> it caused practical problems as well. the dc area airports were closed for a short time, jfk, and newark were closed down. that caused a big ripple effect. you had trouble getting to aural camera, didn't you? got caught with some traffic? >> that's absolutely right. dc traffic, it's not good to begin with, and when you add an awful lot of shaking people, a lot of people happened to
evacuate early, it can cause what we would call a secondary hazard. >> you were at the geological survey at the time? >> i was at hour headquarters building in virginia just outside of d.c. on the seventh floor. that initial feeling, you're wondering what it is, but as the shaking continues for a bit, it becomes pretty obvious. so i dutifully got under a good solid object, my desk. again, the concern probably not for seeing an actual building collapses, but you can get a lot of damage just caused by what we would say nonstructural damage, bookcases falling over, light fixtures fallings. and we're seeing lots of small damage. our initial estimate is very low probability for fatalities, but in terms of economic losses, it could add up.
unbelievable. it is, i guess comforting to know even you folks at the geological survey weren't sure in the nanoseconds. david applegate, thanks so much. i want to bring in tom costello. they really took some hits, didn't they, tom? >> reporter: this is a beautiful little town in the middle of virginia, one square mile, and the fire department lieutenant said to me, i can't believe mineral, virginia knocked gadhafi out of the lead for the nightly newscast. they're just astonished by this. we have a major, major train line that comes through here about every 90 minutes, the earth really shakes from this train. they thought that's what it was. over my shoulder, jim is going
to push into the back side of town hall. they have lost the back side of the town hall. it'sen sheared off, and if jim will pan over here. these are the fire trucks here for the main fire station. they pulled them all out of the fire station, because they're afraid the fire station may have been compromised. they're also using that as a staging point in the event that people feel like they just aren't safe in their own homes and they want a place to get something to eat. as we were driving in here, i saw an awful lot of chimneys that were down. now, keep in mind a lot of these homes were build more than 100iers, in fact civil war era homes. it has the big chimney made of brick. the chimneys had literally fallen over. we're told throughout the county
they have dozens of homes but for the most part no real, real serious stuff. the local grocery store, they lost all their inventory, everything fell off the ships, but is the store is still standing. one concern was the nearby nuke lay plant. i talked to the agency, because both reactors smut down immediately. since then, they had four -- three of four diesel generators are up and working so that the coolant is working and keeping the rods cool. that plant is okay, and the key now is to see if they can get that other generator back up and
running. 5.8 earthquake. this is the epicenter, this beautiful dr the rolling hills of virginia here, but a small town. the damage seems minor, but obviously if it's your own home, it's a big deal. >> i was talking to pam harlo, towns, counties, states all over the country having financial problems. i asked her how worried she was, and she said we would have to tally. david applegate things $100 million. she was very optimistic, with that small-town optimism. >> these are great people, the heart of virginia. the rolling hills of virginia. as we drove through, you drive past -- i was telling my cameraman, i think we drove past
half a dozens civil war battlefields, so it has that really old town, old dominion feel to it. people here have been living here for hundreds of years, but thankfully nobody is injured, nobody has died, everybody can sleep grateful for that. >> tom costello, who rushed to get down there, thank you so much, tom. and coming up, just how premarried is the east coast? we'll be talking to rob bazzell, as well as a representative from the red cross. their phones have been ringing off the hook in the dc area. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] from nutritional science
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bazzell. always good to see you. we've been through earthquakes before. a lot of the big aftershocks in japan, we were there together. they're really prepared there. their buildings are built to sustain these shocks. how prepared are we on the east coast? >> not at all. this is not something we think about, though this is a reminder that it can occur. in 1812, which sounds like a long time ago, but in geological time it's a wink of an eye, there was a earthquake in missouri that changed the course of the river there. this is a reminder that earthquakes can occur. this area is, in the appalachian region, when the appalachian mountains were formed, this set of faults was formed 400 million years ago. >> how is that different? >> they're a lot closer, 30 million years ago.
well, that's still a long time ago. but it was telling us that the earth out there is softer, so earthquakes don't propagate so far here. when there's an earthquake, you feel it a long way away. it's amazing there have been no reports of injuries. you said only last one was 67iers. in geological time, that's nothing. people say should i retrofit my hospital, and they come up with, well, the last one was 67 years ago. >> the port aprince earthquake of january 2010, there had not been an earthquake there for 200 years, less time.
that one was only slight le more powerful than the one that struck today. we should thing about and fall down. we should think about tunnels and bridges. earthquakes is one of the things that could happen. something else could set off a crack in a tunnel or bridge if it's not maintained properly. this is a wake-up call. >> when i lived out -- predict and watching when the fault lines were kind of moving a little bit. i'm wondering how out on the east coast. obviously there's an -- they
didn't even realize it was an quaem that was so unexpected. we're her learning today there are no hot spots all over the world, certain all over the united states. do they act differently? >> the ones -- and we saw the ones in iceland where the there was a volcano, but you see this amazing evidence, where those happen, you get a lot of
powerful earthquakes. this one was 5.8. a lot of concern about the indian point nuclear power plant. one sixth of the population of the united states lives one the 50-mile evacuation zone. >> which is why government officials came out so fast to say it's okay. >> 6% lives within that exclusion zone. there's another earthquake area called -- there's a fault zone right near there. on the governor wants to close down that nuclear power plant.
>> iceland, japan, now new york, we've got to stop meeting like this, bob. >> haiti, too. >> i want to bring in laura howe. laura, it's good to see you. >> it's been a day of preparing for earthquakes and hurricanes here. i think as bob said, none of us were used to feeling earthquakes, so, you know, i think we were all pretty surprised by it as well. >> you saw here in new york and a lot in d.c. people running for the streets. they were trying to get out of the buildings. is that the smart thing to do, though? >> that's an okay thing to do once the shaking stops. what we always recommend is for people to drop, cover and hold on. that means you get under a nice sturdy table, and hold on until the shaking stops. there's lots of myths about
getting in doorways or running out immediately, but the fact is you want to cover yourself while the shaking is happens. you don't want to be injured by flying debris. but nottent after that shaking stops. so i think we all tried to get out of the building after that happened, and we evacuated our buildings here as well, but we all hit the ground and went under tables immediately. >> we started this conversation by say are we read xwr on the east coast? and you can talk about the structural issues, and i know the folks on the west coast are laughing at us, because we think this is such a big deal, but one thing i learned when i lived out there was to be prepared and you were talking about getting kids together for a hurricane. is it much different for any kind of possible disaster like this? >> well, you know, this does give us all a great warning to
be prepared. it helps us remember that anything can happen at any time action and really getting prepared doesn't disaster-specific. you could have the same kind of things in your kit for a hurricane that you would for a earthquake. three days' split of water and foot, a flashlight, battery-operated radio, your prescription meds, copies of your important papers, things of that nature. it's the same thing for every disaster. perhaps even more than a kit is to have a family emergency plan. as soon as we all got out of the building, everybody reached for their cell phones. people, you know, couldn't get ahold of loved ones, because the phone lines were jammed, to people were going to text, yew twitter, so making sure you have that family communication plan, you know how to get ahold of people is important, and one thing that can work is find an out of town contact, aunt betty
in des moines or wherever, that you all can call, your entire family can call and check in with that person, because a lot of times it's easier to get a phone call out of town than it is to call each other in a disaster area. if you can take away one thing from today, it's have that family communication plan. >> yeah, let me ask you finally, i'm curious, because you were saying the phones were really wringing there, what kind of calls are you getting? >> you know, most of what we are getting is from our chapters who are out across the east coast. they're checking in with us, telling us what's going on. we didn't have a huge incoming -- what they were facing down there. they were out looking to see what damage was happening. but in a situation like that, i
think we are actually getting requests, you know, for tips. how can people be ready? i think in a situation like this, it's one of our main roles, to remind people that disasters can happen any day any time, at 1:45 in the afternoon. >> you guys have great tips on your website, too. >> we do. >> laura howe, thank you so much. good to see you, and good luck. the red cross will have its hands full with the hurricane. >> we are. we'll talk to two of our own correspondents in washington who felt the earthquake. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] this...is the network --
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they felt it there too. joining me to talk more about how dc was affected, pete williams and an degree use machle. pete, let me start with you. i imagine a lot of what happened in dc, maybe particularly around the pentagon is what happened here, and again in lower manhattan, you start feeling just a little something and it's not hard not to think 9/11 or what's going on. >> when it started here, i actually did follow the rules, did get under my desk instinctively, but all across dc, people were flooding out of their buildings some buildings were formally evacuated. union station, the smithsonian museums, the memorials and monuments on the national mall. most of those will be reopened tomorrow, but federal officials are still going around, and i think, chris, the quick way to describe this is you can tell what damage is visible. now the question is, what is the structural damage that may not
be visible to the eye, but engineers can look to telltale signs? that's what's going to determine how quickly some of these buildings open up. the capitol building was reopened up, after some vivid shaking, reopened to staff members and members of congress, those that were here, to dash in, get their materials and leave. this afternoon was a real mess. the washington, d.c. subway, the metro was running at only 15 miles an hour, much slower than normal. in some stations there were so many people trying to get onto the subway, they stopped them at the entrances, police were letting them in only a few at a time. but one final thing, i talked to the head of fema, and he says he's talked to the officials at all the states, and there's been no requests for federal help of
any kind. so the story seems to be no serious daniel to the critical infrastructure, no widespread serious injuries. it was scary, chris, but not -- it doesn't appear to be any lasting damage. >> andrea, you were actually on the air when this happened, and it started shaking. >> my luck, right? i just had finished doing an interview with tamron hall. she was about to take over. all of a sudden they came in and sid, what? it was just crazy in here. it was shaking. we were going up and down like this. the papers were moving, and the set, the white house was also moving because the camera that shoots that live picture of the white house for the rear screen was also shaking around. so i didn't think of it until i came back to talk with you, we have, as does any studio, enormous numbers of things hanging from the ceiling. what happened is our technical
director really smartly came in right away and said, andrea get going, it's an earthquake. i didn't really think twice about it. so i took off, and unfortunately our new york control room didn't know what was going on. so they sort of said to tamron, you'll have to start early. it was tamron jumping in and taking over, thank goodness, and calmly carrying on, because -- i felt i had to do it because of all the team here, that everyone had to move out of this building and evacuate on orders. >> i guess the president had started a round of golf, and stopped. he would get on the phone and they would be giving them updates. >> our colleague kristin welker tells us he did not feel anything, though the press pool said they felt something going on. he was out playing with friends and vernon jordan and other pals in martha's vineyard, so they didn't actually feel it
themselves, parent, but the press pool that was standing by some distance amp said they did feel it. >> pete, this is tourist season there obviously in washington, d.c. you have the opening of the martin luther king junior memorial, so i guess that probably added to it. i don't know what the streets are like there right now, but new york city is just crazy this time of year. >> right. a lot of people, a lot of tour buses. the national mall is kind of the centerpiece for all the tourists who come -- we'll see how many of them open up tomorrow. the office of personnel management, which controls federal workers will decide if everybody comes back to work tomorrow. and of course, chris, as soon as this is all sorted out, then we have the prospect of a hurricane coming in, or the remnants of it. >> by the way, chris, one other thing, the only real issue were the nuclear plants, and 20 miles from the epicenter is north anna, and that did everything it's supposed to do. it triggered a halt.
they had backup diesel power, enough to keep cooling those fuel rods. but the issue is, you know, are they built to withstand that? it's already raising questions, because it's built to withstand 5.9 to 6.1 in north anna. >> thank you both. a different kind of earthquake in libya today. rebels storming moammar gadhafi's compound, but where is he? we'll be right back. i like to make my own investment decisions. excuse me, what is that? oh, i'm a fidelity customer.
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of her punch. she's now a category 1 storm with sustained winds. but she is expected to remain strength. a major rally on wall street today. investors shall rugged off weak readings on home sales. a new york court has officially dismissed sexual assault charges against dominique strauss-kahn, and an alaska mom was convicted of child abuse for forcing her son to drink hot sauce and take cold showers on a segment taped for "the dr. phil show." now back to "hardball." bell come back. rebels stormed moammar gadhafi's
compound in triply. his whereabouts however are still unknown. for more on today's news let's bring in steffie go stephanie g. i was on the air around 10:00 eastern time when the rebels broke through the western gate, and then went from there. describe the assault as you know it. >> reporter: well, it looked like a coordinated assault. what we have been learning about the rebels is there aren't a lot of coordinated assaults. in the last week or so that's what we've seen, a coordination at all of the gates of the compound. in one account thousands of forces surrounding the compound. eventually they prevailed. you only had to look at the faces to realize how significant and important it was for them today. practically speaking, because this was one of the last bastions of control in the city for gadhafi loyalists, but also
symbolically and psychological. this was his home, where he gave speeches, the center of hi power. it was also a military compound. by taking it over and raiding it and looting it, it was a symbol of the end of his more than four decades reign. first and foremost, where is gadhafi himself? where are his sons? how much support does he have around the country? this is where his tribe is from, this is -- last week they had fired two scud missiles out of cert, so there could still be quite a battle there. most significantly a number of journalists more than three dozen are basically being held inside one of the tripoli's hotels, surrounded by a number
of loyalists that are using that kind of as their last holdout and using these adjournists really as human shields. >> let me bring in bobbi gosh. even over the last six months we've seen this video of moammar gadhafi going around in his golf cart, and that's where he has made pronouncements from. so where is he? >> i think he's just smart enough to know that's the first place where they would look. the east and west are both taken because the european country he wants to land in will immediately hand him over. so south is where the desert is, south is where there are more places to hide. south is where the rest of africa is, there are places where he is popular and well liked, so i think every instint is to head south. the question is was he able to
get out of tripoli. >> and i think the other question is, is this really over even if it seems to be militarily over, is it over under we know where he is? >> i think it's over in the way that when baghdad fell, it doesn't matter that saddam had remained unknown. if they can get the majority of his army to surrender, gadhafi's whereabouts may not matter so much. his regime has fallen. >> there are always this a series of meetings. we have heard from the transitional council, they're talking about the money they'll need, because they're worried about food, water, medical supplies, the kind of basic stuff. what's next, even as we don't know where he is?
>> well, the important thing these rebels, unlike -- these rebels actually have something like a government, the transitional national government has had six months to prepared for this. they've had help. they've been in touch with western governments, with the u.s. government, so they have a certainly amount of expertise and organization. it may not be terrific, but it is there. it could be easier for them to get the ball rolling than we've seen elsewhere. >> is this going to be perceived do you think here or certainly as vindication, as you well know and our viewers certainly know, there's so much criticism from people like john mccain that the u.s. wasn't doing enough? >> i don't think internationally, certainly not in libya, people are not thinking of the u.s. years, months from now when people look back, that might be the conclusion they reach. right now it's about the rebels, right now finally freed this country from gadhafi's rule.
who get how much of the credit, that's for historians to work out. >> will we find him soon? what's your gut thoughts? >> i don't think it will take seven months. i think he'll be found hiding like a rat. >> thank you for coming in. up next, switching gears to local politics. rick perry, get this, comparing african-americans' struggle for civil rights with the gop's fight for lower taxes. we'll break that down. every time a local business opens its doors or creates another laptop bag or hires another employee, it's not just good for business --
for believes expressed in his 2010 political manifesto, but a comment about civil rights over this past weekend has managed to overshadow that completely. perry was in rock hill, south carolina this past saturday, he was asked a question about the significance of the civil rights movement and sit-ins. he gives a winding answer and then ends up comparing the civil rights struggle to republicans' fight for corporate tax rates. listen. >> america's gone a long way from the standpoint of civil rights and thank god we have. we've gone from a country that's made great strides in issues of civil rights. i think we all can be proud of that, and as we go forward, america needs to be about freedom. it needs to be about freedom from over-taxation, freedom from over-litigation, freedom from over-regulation, and americans, regardless of their social and
economic to make any droem come true because the economic climate is going to be improved. >> so does perry really believe african-americans struggle for civil rights? >> joining me, alex wagner. okay, is this -- ignorance, he was asked about the friendship nine sit-ins. maybe he didn't know what it was. complete insensitivity? >> i think it demonstrates a certain, if not profound insensitivity to the struggle that minorities, the black, experience in america, especially at this time. if we look at what happened with minorities, the disparity between rich and poor, the numbers from the census show americans make on average 20 times more than black families. one of the things dr. king fought for was social justice. for him to tie corporate tax
rates to the civil rights movement demonstrates insensitivity to the struggle, if not the teachings. >> if you look at the series of quotes from the books, some of which he's backing off on, you have to sit back as a political analyst and say is he too far off even for the gop? >> sure, and this is not the first time rick perry shot his mouth out. we have the stories about him wanting to kneecap ben bernanke, rick perry marches to the tune -- walks to the beat of his own drum. i think there's a real concern he's not ready for prime time and he's really got to walk back some of this rhetoric. this certainly doesn't do anything to improve that image, especially, you know, we're about to see the unveiling of the mlk memorial in washington, and the country is facing particularly difficult economic climate. have we seen any -- have we seen any sort of symbol from the
perry camp that this is maybe not something he should have said? no, not of yet. >> even people like peter king saying you can't be calling bernanke a traitor and questioning whether or not barack obama loves american. so there's a republican saying that. let me play for you also something that mitt romney had to say, because this really speaks to the larger sort of gop theme here. let me play this for you. >> corporations are people, my friend. we can raise taxes on -- of course, they are. everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. where do you think it goes? who's pockets? who's pockets? people's pockets. okay, human beings, my friends. >> is this a theme we're going to hear? >> what i don't understand, couple of things there, chris, one is the gop has shown a sort of resilience, every time someone says that's not appropriate, mitt romney got all sorts of blow back by saying
corporations are people too. they are seemingly able to go to the ends of the earth to demagogue these financial issue. the civil rights teachings led to the establishment of johnson's great society programs, which was government taking a role to decrease the gap between the haves and have notes. those are the very principles that rick perry and mitt romney have called into question with their own economic policies. i mean, it is hypocrisy on a level we have not seen yet. >> you have to wonder does it create a opening for somebody else to get in yet. despite the fact they may say no, no, no, chris christie, we heard marco rubio, so he's going to be there. you have to wonder if there's an opening for someone who's not sarah palin. >> sure, that's why you see every week someone else has to
come in. there's a real, i think, hunger for someone who is not a very far right conservative but who can speak to sort of the conservative fiscal principles and that person is not yet on the stage, i think, for a lot of americans. >> all right, alex wagner, good to see you. thanks for coming in. when we come back, the latest on the east coast earthquake. [ female announcer ] so you think your kids are getting enough vegetables? maybe not. v8 v-fusion juice gives them a full serving of vegetables plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. [ male announcer ] get five dollars in money-saving coupons at v8juice.com. and this time in your attic has been the best week of my raccoon life. i'm digging, i'm nesting in this fluffy stuff. i've already had like four babies. i'm the smartest raccoon i know. and if you got your home insurance where you got your fifteen-minute car insurance, you could be paying for this yourself. [ laughs ]
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welcome back to "hardball," once again, big story of the day, the east coast earthquake, joining me, nbc's peter alexander, a 5.8, not that much compared to what you felt out in california. but what's going on there in new york? because people, i think it's the whole 9/11 thing, pete williams, and jim were addressing this in washington, when it first starts to happen, you don't know what's going on, and it's a little scarey. >> yeah, there's a added sensitivity to this part of the country, certainly in new york city. every child in california learns when an earthquake hits you duck and cover. here, instead, unsure of what happened, they rush to the streets, some running 50, 60 flights of stairs to get there. we've changed the way we communicate, some learning about the quake by twitter before they felt it seconds or a minute later. others trying to reach loved
ones at home, they tried on their cell phones, and those, chris, suffered serious congestion for a period of time. there were urgent moments after this took place as people weren't able to reach other other because of clogged cell phone lines. >> what did you see minutes after it happened? did seem certain parts of the city didn't feel it at all, other parts felt it good. i felt it, i'm from california. it was familiar. it is certainly not familiar in this part of the country. as i ran to the window, not supposed to do, but i wasn't sure what to do initially. i saw people looking out windows throughout this area looking to see other's reaction, you could tell we didn't know what was going on, a lot of people didn't know what s going on. the good news, might be a good commute home, many people left work early today. >> thank you,